County property tax deadline looms

J. MCHAEL ROSS JRoss@EmpireTribune
Jennifer Carey said she expects long lines at the tax office on Friday as property owners rush in at the last minute to pay taxes and avoid penalties.

Jennifer Carey, tax assessor-collector for Erath County, said she expects the usual long lines at the Tax Office Friday as last-minute filers pour in to avoid the late penalty.

"It happens every year. We see lines wrapped around outside the office and I'm sure we'll see that this year," she said.

Fifty-two percent of property owners who owe taxes have filed so far, leaving a whopping nearly half out there in the county who have not.

Carey says that folks can also still pay by mail, but the letter has to be post marked to be considered as having met the deadline. Think of the annual TV coverage of people lined up in their cars at post offices across America on the evening of April 15 when U.S. federal taxes are due.

"People can also pay online if they like, but if they're going to do that, they need to beat that rush too. The website is www.texaspayments.com [click on Erath when you get there] but that site will be swamped on Friday. It may be running very slow from the load," Carey says.

So what's it going to cost you extra if you're late? Carey says that penalties start at 7% in February, rise to 9% in March, then to 11% in April, going all the way to 20% in July.

After that, the collection process can begin with lawyers and all the rest of that painful stuff.

The Erath County Tax Office is located at 320 W. College Street.